It hasn't been a good start to the year for popular game show host Matthew Kelly.

After a performance of Peter Pan in January, he was arrested by policeman on ancient allegations of sexual abuse in the Seventies and was not cleared until over a month later.

It is hard, therefore, to think of a more apt role for the host of Stars in Their Eyes to go straight into than that of the misunderstood Lennie in this stage adaptation of Steinbeck's classic novel.

Set in America's Great Depression, the show's action revolves round two friends.

Gentle giant Lennie, who has a huge heart but a low mental age, and the loyal but short-tempered George, who set out to buy a small farm.

The depiction of unsympathetic attitudes towards Lennie's childlike persona and the struggle the two pals endure as they attempt to better their lives creates an insightful portrait of the society of the time.

Themes running through the play, including explorations of the flip side of the American dream, are specific to the era and place in which it is set but also retain far-reaching implications which have resonance for all societies and times.

In a random case of art imitating life, George is played by George Costigan of Rita, Sue & Bob Too fame, a long-term friend of Kelly's.

Like the character he plays, Costigan has proved himself to be a loyal support for his co-star, being responsible for the organisation of a published letter signed by the likes of Julie Walters, Alan Rickman and Pete Postlethwaite earlier this year.

The letter expressed support for Kelly.

Starts 7.45pm & 2.30pm Weds and Sat matinees. Tickets £7 to £18. 01323 412000.